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Showing posts from April, 2011

How to write a grant proposal for industry

I've recently had the pleasure of reviewing proposals for Google's Research Awards program. This is a huge program that gives away millions of dollars a year to a large number of university research projects ranging from machine vision to human-computer interaction to mobile systems. After spending eight years in academia struggling to get funding for my own research, it is quite nice to be on the other side of the table and be the one helping to give away the money, rather than begging for it.

First of all, this is nothing like reviewing proposals for, say, the NSF, where you have 15-20 page proposals and project sizes ranging from 3-5 years and anywhere from one to ten PIs. The Google proposals are (thankfully) short -- only 3 pages -- and generally ask for funding for a couple of grad students for a year, plus some funding for a summer month of a PI and maybe some equipment. So the individual grants are small, which in some sense is frustrating since it's hard to propose…

The death of Intel Labs and what it means for industrial research

Intel recently announced that it is closing down its three "lablets" in Berkeley, Seattle, and Pittsburgh. I know a lot of people who work at the Intel Labs and in fact spent a year at the Berkeley lab before joining Harvard in 2003.  (I should be clear that not all of Intel Research is closing down -- just the lablets.) All of the researchers have been told to find new jobs, though some of them are getting picked up by Intel-sponsored research centers at the nearby Universities.

The Intel Labs were a fantastic experiment to rethink how industrial research should be done. They first started in 2001 under the model that full-time Intel researchers would work side-by-side with faculty and students from the nearby universities. All of the research was done under an open intellectual property model where results were co-owned by the university and Intel. In fact the labs were not inside of the Intel corporate network and operated largely autonomously from the rest of Intel. This…